Radhika Dhuru October 27, 2015

How is 3D Printing going to change the world of fashion? We asked New York-based fashion collective threeASFOUR, who recently won the prestigious Fashion Design Award by the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

“In a way similar to how Lycra entered the fashion industry in the ’80s, radically evolving how clothes were made and how garments behave,” says Gabi Asfour, one-third of the threeASFOUR trio. “3D Printing is going to take the industry multiple steps ahead in terms of form and function.”

That’s also aptly close to how we feel about threeASFOUR, looking at their innovations since they began collaborating with Materialise early into their 3D modeling departure.

A Decade of Fashion: Embodying the threeASFOUR Look Over the Years

It’s a big year for threeASFOUR: the prestigious Fashion Design Award comes their way just as the trio celebrates a decade of working together. In that time, they’ve also worked with Materialise for their MER KA BA collection, launched at the New York Fashion Week in 2013. This time’s Spring Summer 2016 dress was described by threeASFOUR as a “meta-retrospective collection, recasting elements from [their] design legacy”. It’s a look back at their work over these years and the unique creative language it has evolved. Check out their show video here:


3D-printed dress by threeASFOUR | © Schohaja

Combining Tradition and Modernity: The Art of a 3D-Printed Tailoring Approach

As a look at threeASFOUR’s previous work shows, the trio’s distinctive style introduces familiar motifs to a completely new form of expression, combining the expected with the exciting. With the Spring Summer 2016 dress, threeASFOUR say that the challenge was to use the 3D-printed surfaces as pattern pieces, just as if they were fabric being cut into pre-patterned sections of the dress. There’s a true marriage of traditional tailoring and modern 3D modeling. “Moreover, we wanted to create an asymmetric flow for this piece which was quite a puzzle considering the different varieties of 3D-printed weaves created: six in total,” recalls Gabi.

Materialising the Spring Summer 2016 Collection

The collection was 3D-modeled by collaborating architect Bradley Rothenberg, using a range of modeling software programs. It was then printed at Materialise.

“Materialise has been a great supporter of our 3D creations and Joris Debo (MGX Director at Materialise) has believed in threeASFOUR’s potential since our departure in 3D modeling,” threeASFOUR say. Of course, since the collaboration for MER KA BA when Materialise printed two dresses and several pairs of shoes for theeASFOUR, the group’s style has evolved as their familiarity with 3D modeling deepened. “Our 3D fabric weaves multiplied and the geometry got more intricate,” says Gabi – not that that was a problem for 3D Printing, which thrives on offering 3D modelers the chance to truly embrace design freedom. Going by threeASFOUR’s Spring Summer 2016 collection, that’s just what they’ve done. Stay tuned for more exciting news from this quarter!

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